Busy week for tennis sets up Pack for winning season
It was a big week for Claremont High School girls tennis, with three matches in three consecutive days.
The highlight came on Wednesday as eighth ranked Claremont hosted number-three Redlands, the defending CIF champion. And boy what a match it was.
After three hours of close competition, it came down to two doubles matches, both of which Claremont held for a 9-9 tie on sets. So the coaches, Claremont’s Kathy Settles and Redlands’ Sean Comadena, had to break out their calculators. It took a couple of recalculations, but in the end the Terriers prevailed, 83-80, on games.
“What a battle, I am so proud of you,” Coach Settles told her team after the match. “We may not of come out with a win today but it was a true team effort. Redlands is ranked third in division two, and we are eighth so look what we can do; And this is early in the season, we have our best tennis ahead of us,”
Redlands defeated Claremont, 11-7, in the CIF tournament last November, and Coach Settles was clear in her pregame comments: the girls would have to play their best tennis. They may not have won, but the tie was clearly a big improvement. Unfortunately, there were some “what if” moments.
First and most important, Goldie La lost her first set outside of CIF tournament play to Redlands’ number-one singles player Kendall Bolock. The 6-4 first round loss put La in the unfamiliar position of having to dig herself out of a hole, which she did by winning her remaining two sets. The loss could have a silver lining for La as it can be daunting to carry around an undefeated record. Now the sophomore can just concentrate on playing her best.
“We have some great leadership out there. Goldie wasn’t feeling her best today and was not happy with the first set. But she went back out there and she fought, battled and worked through it,” Coach Settles said. “That is the way we are going to do it this year, we are going to battle hard.”
Another disappointing moment for the Pack came in a second-round 6-3 victory for Redlands’ number-two doubles team, Martina Daniels and Nidhi Kejriwal, over Claremont’s number-one Astrid Petropoulos and Camille Movafagian.
On the plus side, Claremont’s Emma Berens and Kristin Hernandez fought back from double match point in the third round to force a tiebreaker that they eventually won, 7-6 (7-5).
Jahday Drewery and Salma Mohideen played their best match of the season, beating Redlands’ number-one doubles team, 7-5. The two wins kept the Pack tied on sets, forcing the match to be settled on games.
Over the stretch of 18 matches, if there are a couple games that get away, the tendency may be to look to the next game and focus on winning the match. But Coach Settles highlighted the folly in that thinking.
“We just try to reinforce that every single game matters. You may not think it is a big deal at the time until you start adding up games at the end—because losing by three games stinks,” she said.
One day earlier Claremont easily defeated Alta Loma, 15-3, in both teams’ Palomares League opener. Two of the Braves’ three-set wins came from their first seed singles player Lindsey Brown. Her only defeat on the day came from La, who earned a 6-2 victory over Brown.
“There are going to be good players in our league this year. I am excited,” Coach Settles said after the match. “We did not play our best tennis today [Tuesday], we are going to have to later, against Ayala and if we make it to CIF.”
The gals barely got to take a breath as they hosted the third straight match against Glendora after press time on Thursday. Claremont is now 2-3 overall and 1-0 in League.
Claremont won a home non-conference game against Ontario last Friday 27-21. After a scoreless first half, both teams scored a touchdown in the third and fourth quarters for a 14-14 tie at the end of regulation.
The two teams both scored again in the first overtime but Claremont tacked on six points in the second overtime for the win.
No individual stats were provided by the team.
With the win, Claremont is 2-2 and will host Montclair on Friday with their first league game on September 28.
Claremont won a very close match against Bonita, 3-2, on Tuesday at CHS. The teams played a back and forth with Claremont, winning the first set, 25-20, followed by a Bonita win in the second, 25-23, Claremont in the third with 25-16, and Bonita, 25-16, in the fourth. CHS pulled off the close victory with a 15-12 win in the tiebreaking round.
The Pack defeated Colony 3-0 last Thursday at home. Sonia Bliss led the attack with 15 kills as the Pack fairly easily handled the Titans, 25-16, 25-19 and 25-23.
Claremont’s record is 2-2 in Palomares League and 3-4 overall. The girls had a rematch after press time with Alta Loma, who defeated the Pack earlier this month.